Beware of Falling

floor scene " fear of falling"
floor scene ” fear of falling”

“Beware of Falling” is the title of my final performance piece of my second year Bachelor Of Fine Art. It concluded my 2017 study year at Monash University, Melbourne.

The formative work began as a response to a studio project entitled ” A Narrative Tale”. Initially I decided to  photograph my wardrobe. This took some time and involved the photographing of four hundred and two items of clothing. All my clothes are sourced from flea markets, vintage sales, opportunity or charity shops, garage sales and online second hand sites. I habitually buy only second hand items. This is a personal habit formed over many  years. Financial circumstances made recycling an initial lifestyle choice.   As a visual artist I employ an ongoing aesthetic of repurposing the found object . This combined with my love of the old, quirky and undervalued has continued to inform my purchasing choices. As a weekly volunteer at a local op shop and keen sewer I have great resources and the ability to refashion rehoused items.

close up of refashioned fabric
close up of refashioned fabric

A thirteen hour photo shot started the process which took on many iterations over the course of the 2017 year. Photographic displays, artist books, diagrams and sculptural pieces, drawings and collages extended the theme. Further work included using large quantities of fabric to create installation pieces, which were hand dyed, silk screened, torn, stiffened or embellished in some manner,  all bearing the hand of the artist. I played with fifty metres, twenty metres and ten metres of fabric in various configurations in the stairwell at Monash University Building D. It rapidly became my work space, informed my methodology and forced me to address questions of scale and spatial practice.

refashioning fabric
refashioning fabric

My final iteration of the work took the form of a performance piece at the end of year show. I recruited several helpers who were to  drop their specific bag of colour coded fabric into the stairwell onto the swathe of a sixty metre piece of orange fabric hung there . It  was a total of four hundred and two pieces of fabric to replicate the original four hundred and two pieces of my wardrobe.

A film was made.

The overall process involved a huge amount of physical labour, manual manipulation and lengthy thought process. It involved a prodigious following through of the original concept . Much collaboration was required, reliance on participants labour and skills. Uncertain as to the outcome it addressed my interest in public performance, trained me to address spatial concepts and fed my imagination. Never satisfied or appeased my restless search in my practice is continuing. What do  viewers take away from a performance? How is the non static  judged?  How important is it to leave or maintain a permanent record of work.

 

Intermission Gallery at Monash University

Last week  I collaborated in a Group Show at Intermission Gallery on the Caulfield Campus at Monash University . It is a new ground floor gallery space in the recently renovated D Building which is part of the MADA, Monash Art Design and Architecture School.

My piece ” Dress ” was a Wedding Dress found in an Op Shop several years ago. I deconstructed the dress and treated it with a chemical stiffener laundry product sourced after much trial and error and experimentation with various products.

Dress
Dress

It addresses a narrative tale based on the discovery  of my mother’s 1950’s wedding dress I found hidden in a cupboard after my mothers demise to dementia. The dress was in a rather dishevelled state replicating my mothers frail and unravelling health of her later years.

 

As a homage to this memory  I recreated a rather visceral, evocative piece. Her original wedding dress remains in my safe keeping, one of the few tangible possessions I have of my mum and something I will perhaps gift to my three daughters.

 

Sap Ball
Sap Ball

The work was hung in a small, seperate room of the gallery, strung by wire from the complicated pipe system overhead. Six small beads from the bodice were placed on the floorboards beneath. A brightly jewelled, delicate chrysalis of a bloodwood sap ball was placed on the wall above.

Spotlit and extended the ” Dress” occupied the gallery area filling the space successfully. Only two of the beads remained at the de-install. Were they collected

Dress
Dress

or had they attached themselves to the sole of a viewers shoe ?

ebb and flow 2017 Banyule Award for Works on Paper

Jo Scicluna
Jo Scicluna

I saw this exhibition of 38 finalists work which delves into the myriad different ways that paper can be employed in making art. In 2017 the conceptual theme

winner Dianne Fogwell "1903 - the Grey Sea", artist's book
winner Dianne Fogwell “1903 – the Grey Sea”, artist’s book

for Banyule Council’s Arts and Culture Program is ‘water’. The award features a wide assortment of works on paper and various techniques of production. Extensive printmaking processes feature including linocut, screenprint, mezzotint, etching, intaglio, letterpress and woodblock. Other making techniques include drawing, painting,photography, digital prints, artist’s books, and paper sculptures.

Paul Kalemba
Paul Kalemba

 

Monash fellows Marion Crawford and Paul Kalemba

Franky Howell Untitled 2017
Franky Howell Untitled 2017

are featured the former with a printed artist book ” Picturing the Island “and the latter with a watercolour drawing.

Ten Cubed Exhibition at Glen Eira Town Hall Gallery, Caulfield

Starlight 2001 colour digital print
Starlight 2001
colour digital print

Ten Cubed Exhibition at Glen Eira Town Hall Gallery, Caulfield

 

Of particular interest where the photographers Pat Brassington and David Rosetzky

The former is a Tasmanian female photographer who is a powerful manipulator of imagery of the female figure which has been partially collaged with other images. Eg a woman walking across a pathway with a paper bag where her head should be.

 

David Rosetzky is a Melbourne based artist who works at Monash University, and also uses the human form of portraiture but lays into the face of the subject other contrasting images. An example would be the face of a young man with a dove flying across it. Well curated  , films /audios placed inside large cubicles for easy viewing and soundproofing and like items exhibited together. There was a diverse range of work but all referenced the human figure in some way.

MADA Graduate Show 2015

I walked to Caulfield, from my home in Elsternwick to see the MADA Graduate Fine Art and Visual Art Exhibition. I wasn’t disappointed. The work on display was extremely innovative, explorative, and visually stunning. It covered a diverse range of visual practice including installation, photography, painting, printmaking, sculpture and drawing.

Jamie O'Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O’Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson

Spread over the entire floors of the old, iconic, former CIT Building, in Dandenong Rd, it embraced a fine visual aesthetic and displayed a comprehensive skill base of the newly graduated practitioners.

Of particular interest was the area where the Honours Students were exhibiting. This is the proposed 2016 studio space for the first year, Bachelor of Fine Art Degree students.

Jamie O'Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O’Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O'Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson
Jamie O’Connell interviewed by Bess Davey & Tom Nicholson

MADA

On the 2nd August, I ventured from my cosy nest to the MADA Open Day, at Monash University. The skys were bleak, the day crisp, but I was a VU student, on a mission. I leapt in my trusty Volkswagon, careered down Dandenong Rd, and

Biggest Paint Brush
Biggest Paint Brush

parked at the temporary entrance, to the revered, Fine Art School.

Fine Art installation
Fine Art installation

I stepped through the plastic sheeting, and gasped at the sense of familiarity and contentment, I felt. A squat, brick building beckoned surrounded by a swarm of orange clad young people. Inside, a makeshift art studio had been set up, and the walls of paper, and giant paintbrushes were too irresistible to ignore.

It was an enlightening experience. I learnt about the rigorous entry requirements,  and had a grand tour of the relatively new facilities, ably assisted by keen volunteer students. The lecturers gave an inspired speech about why they love to work at MADA.

Monash University
Monash University

I liked what I saw and heard, not only did I get to paint, I participated in a Life Drawing Class, and met a jewellery maker, which I learnt I can take as an elective. Inspiring stuff, now I only have to negotiate the intricacies of the VTAC process,  and ensure I present my best body of work possible, to be offered a place.